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More E-mail, Fewer Mailboxes

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the protected-monopolies-and-handy-excuses dept.

235

mikesd81 writes "Over at the Baltimore Sun there is an article about the post office removing those blue corner mail boxes because of e-mail. From the article: 'As more people send e-mails and pay bills online, the decline in first-class mail is forcing the U.S. Postal Service to remove tens of thousands of underused mailboxes from city streets.' The article goes on to say that the boxes were an American icon: 'You recognize them in Chicago, you recognize them in D.C., you recognize them in Florida, you recognize them in Montana,' Pope said. 'It's a piece of American iconography that has a wonderful history behind it.'" What the article forgets to mention: they're like an American TARDIS for children.

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Mailbox Graveyard? (4, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445347)

What TFA doesn't address is what they'll do with the mailboxes. Will they auction them off to collectors, recycle the metal, or will there just be a huge stack of retired mailboxes three rows over from the Ark of the Covenant in some warehouse somewhere?

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445385)

They will melt them down for scrap. They won't sell them because thieves would use them for nefarious purposes, and outside of collecting mail they have little other possible use.

I know every hacker on slashdot will post and tell me how they can turn one into a wet bar, but I doubt if the post office will sell them unless its to somebody who will scrap them.

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445907)

"They won't sell them because thieves would use them for nefarious purposes"

Can't a thief already just vacuum mail out of one? Seems easier and less obvious than lugging a 300 pound steel mailbox into the middle of the street, waiting for someone to put their mail into it (without becoming suspicious and calling the police), and then lugging it back to your hideout to read birthday cards and bills.

I don't think anyone really expects 100% safety using those public mailboxes. For example, a prankster could stick a hose in one and ruin all the mail - sorry, just had to make the Simpsons reference :)

Top men (3, Funny)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445453)

Interesting problem. I hear that top men are working on it now.

Re:Top men (2, Funny)

Burdell (228580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445665)

Who?

Re:Top men (3, Funny)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445695)

Top. Men.

Re:Top men (1)

adamofdoom (1005365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445703)

Indiana Jones Reference

Re:Top men (1)

Burdell (228580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445809)

Yes, my comment was a reference; kafka47 got it.

Re:Top men (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445871)

I love it when a plan comes together.

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445457)

Maybe they use them to replace other mailboxes? With hundreds of thousands of functional mailboxes I'd imagine they replace tens of thousands every year.

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (1)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445529)

I'll bet they destroy them; there have been problems in the past with people using fake mailboxes to get letters such as bill payments, etc.

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (2, Funny)

reklusband (862215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445677)

They'll use them for making a giant mailman eating machine. This will take care of the extra postal employees as well as the extra mailboxes.

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (2, Funny)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#16446001)

I thought rogue postal employees took care of that? Zing!

Re:Mailbox Graveyard? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445927)

As other poster stated they will probably be melted for scrap. And if you think about it, these mailboxes have been around for sometime I'm sure they already have a system in place for scraping the old rusted ones. The backlog could be large though :)

No shit? (0, Troll)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445359)

This needs an obvious tag. Next they'll be telling us that record sales are down.

Re:No shit? (1)

Canar (46407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445635)

Actually, record sales are up [cnet.co.uk] .

(BTW, Slashdot's "Slow down, cowboy" comment sucks)

So what? (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445361)

When was the last time you saw a (pay) telephone booth?

Re:So what? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445383)

infact I just saw one at work in the break room...3 of them actually. And there's one at the local Burger King. and the gas station down the road......

Re:So what? (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445417)

You must live in a nice part of town. There are at least 5 pay telephones within a minute's walk of here. Pay telephones aren't going anywhere just yet. Incidentally, I also live close to a heavily used urban bus line. Not everybody has a cell phone and a car (just all Slashdot readers?).

Re:So what? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445743)

Actually I live in a very rural area. Mostly farms. That's why so little phones.

Re:So what? (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445967)

There are at least 5 pay telephones within a minute's walk of here.

I think you just made the parent posters point. You see, there used to be this thing called a phone booth. It was fully enclosed and ... Well you've seen Superman right?

pffftt (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16446027)

Ah, a semantics troll. The breakdown is 2 official booths and 3 pay phones with the little metal privacy hoods. And that means what, exactly? Thank you, come again.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445467)

Haven't seen one in a decade, but the Bell monopoly got rid of them so they could pimp their very low quality wireless garbage. Why sell a few phone calls for a dime when you could sell a $40/month phone? That's the real reason Bell screwed us by taking the phone booths.

Your analogy was not a good one because the USPS isn't doing this to make more money pushing an inferior product. They're doing it to screw the public. They have a government protected monopoly so it's all just another one of their juvenile power trips.

Re:So what? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445507)

Do you really think the postmaster general or someone is sitting in a room with his fingertips together laughing manically because he gets to remove the mailboxes?

Might it actually be for the same sorts of fiscal concerns given above?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445539)

Just FYI for those who might actually read this person's piss-ant drivel:

The United States Postal Service has not been a government run institution since 1971. It has to run at a profit, like any other business. The government DOES pay for a majority of it's letter services through contracts with the USPS - hence your IRS notices are delivered by them, and not FedEx or UPS.

The parent apparently spent too much time smoking crack to know these facts - www.usps.com.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445725)

Why lie about it? The USPS has a government-granted monopoly. It is not legal to compete with them. It wasn't until 1979 that even competition in letter mail was allowed. The US law requirement that private carriers must charge at least $3 or twice the U.S. postage, whichever is greater, has put many people out of work.

My wife when she worked for Equifax was threatened with time in prison by the US Postal Inspection Service for using UPS to send letters. The FBI made similar threats to employees at Bellsouth including an old roommate of mine from GA Tech. A distant cousin of mine received death threats after stating that "there is no way to justify our present public monopoly of the post office." If the USPS will threaten a Nobel prize winner, the average person doesn't stand a chance against them.

So Mr Troll, what is your agenda? Do you profit from their abuse? They do have a government-granted monopoly. Why claim otherwise?

Re:So what? (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445863)

Obviously their government-granted monopoly is working out so well for them, since they have to remove thousands of mailboxes that are disused.

Seriously, aren't there more important things to troll about?

Re:So what? (1)

thopkins (70408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445755)

They still have more or less of a monopoly by law since private companies are not allowed to do first class mail for less than 3x the price of a USPS stamp. (or something like that) Let's see them turn a profit without that law.

Re:So what? (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445471)

There are many around where I live, including some full-size phone booths; those with the original fold-in door attached are a rare sight, because often the door has long since been removed for security, maintenance, etc reasons.

Ron

Re:So what? (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445483)

I see payphones all the time. Of course, they were all smashed to pieces before I was born, but I see them.

Re:So what? (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445491)

Last time I saw a pay telephone booth ?? On an episode of Firefly [wikipedia.org] . . . .

Re:So what? (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445501)

I saw one last weekend at my hometown's regional park. It even takes coins. Oh you mean with a booth and doors? In Rhein, SK, a couple months ago.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445531)

I take it you don't travel much. I see numerous payphones at any given airport in the world and although fewer in density, I do see them spread out through most cities.

Payphones won't be going anywhere. There are too many people, like me, who detest mobile phones (AKA annoying, chattering leashes).

Re:So what? (3, Funny)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445945)

There are too many people, like me, who detest mobile phones (AKA annoying, chattering leashes).

This just in -- New models of mobile phones being designed with "power buttons". This unique feature allows one to turn the device off (!!) if one doesn't want to accept calls.

Wait a second... more breaking news! It seems that these same phones are also being equipped with ringtone volume controls and vibration functions! Not only that, but they also come equipped with small screens that display the identity of the incoming caller. And with a single button, one can choose to reject an incoming call!

It is truely a marvelous world of technology that we live in.

Re:So what? (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445615)

*Booth*? Rarely. Pay telephones, though -- I see all the time. I can't imagine they're only around out here (near Chicago) -- maybe you just aren't aware of them. They are one of those things that's so ubiquitous that you hardly notice them. Then again, there certainly are less than there once were; it used to be unthinkable that a gas station wouldn't have a pay phone.

Here's what's interesting, though -- I encountered a pay TOILET less than four years ago, at a Metra station. Ten cents if you'd like to get in the bathroom door. I was riding the Metra quite a bit at the time, so I can't recall which station it was. Someplace up near Vernon Hills, I believe.

Re:So what? (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445985)

In Europe (especially France), pay restrooms are very common. It helps cut down on vandalism and keeps the restroom looking cleaner. I thought it was a bit of a far-fetched concept when I first saw them, but it seems to be working out pretty well for them. Their public restrooms are much nicer than anything I'd expect to see in America.

American Tardis? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445371)

What's a tardis?

Re:American Tardis? (1)

usermilk (149572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445401)

The TARDIS is a fictional time machine and spacecraft in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. (Thanks Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] !)

Re:American Tardis? (2, Funny)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445563)

The TARDIS is a fictional time machine
You mean, as opposed to a real time machine? ;)

Re:American Tardis? (0, Redundant)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445421)

This [wikipedia.org] .

TARDIS is quite apt... (5, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445571)

For those that don't know, the TARDIS is the vehicle piloted by the Doctor in Doctor Who. Its use as a comparison here is quite apt: the TARDIS is disguised as a police box, which was once a common sight on British streets but which, as portable radios took over, fell into obsolescence. There are very few police boxes still around, but once they were so commonplace that a time traveller could disguise his time machine as one and expect it to go unremarked.

Now, it seems the iconic American mailbox is to fall into similar disuse...

Unless, of course, I've completely misunderstood the metaphor. Does the US postal service provide mailboxes which are far larger on the inside than on the outside?

Re:American Tardis? (1, Funny)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445641)

"What's a tardis?"

It's obvious why your posting this as an anonymous coward. Everyone knows that such blasphemy would carry an immediate ban for any registered user.

It's like applying for a job at ford and then at the end of the interview asking "what's a car?"

What is a tardis? (2, Funny)

papyromancer (832247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445377)

Or is it one of those bullshit things that you turn into if you ask what it is?

Re:What is a tardis? (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445395)

Ask the doctor [bbc.co.uk] . He should be able to explain it.

Re:What is a tardis? (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445399)

its a police call box and a time traveling spaceship

Re:What is a tardis? (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445413)

Well, you've already got the answer to your second question.

As for the first, you can always use google or whatever - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS [wikipedia.org]

Re:What is a tardis? (0, Redundant)

ThePiMan2003 (676665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445423)

Its the time machine that The Doctor rides around in.

(Who is The Doctor? He is the main charatcter of the british Sci-Fi show, Doctor Who.)

Re:What is a tardis? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445607)

It's not a word. The editors here yet again show just how incompetent they are. How about actually proof-reading before posting?

Re:What is a tardis? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445651)

It's not a word.

No, it's an acronym.

Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Or possibly 'Dimensions', depending on which Doctor you ask. The name TARDIS was supposedly given by Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter. It stuck.

Good luck... (4, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445387)

Good luck paying bills, sending letters or doing quite a few long distance things if your Internet connection fails, or there's some kind of Internet-killing catastrophe...

Redundancy is sometimes a good thing.

Re:Good luck... (3, Insightful)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445447)

Except that mail is also accepted at my home, at the post office, at the remaining blue boxes, many people's workplaces, etc. I won't worry.

Re:Good luck... (2, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445469)

Redundancy is also usually an expensive thing. They can take it out of your taxes, not mine.

Re:Good luck... (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445509)

Yeah, cause if a nuclear holocaust comes and destroys the Internet, having to go an extra couple miles to mail out my bills is going to be the first problem I'm going to worry about.

Actually, nevermind. If a nuclear holocaust comes and destroys the Internet I'll just mail stuff out from work, which is what I do with my Netflix DVDs now.

Re:Good luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445511)

Before you had 1 choice: post
Now you have 2 choices: internet and a little post
if the choice only became: internet then there wouldn't be any more or any less choices than before.

Besides, I think the internet is actually better able to withstand catastrophe. It was designed to survive nuclear war for crying out loud. I don't think that the post office can claim that.

Remember the old fashioned mailboxes? (2, Insightful)

jhines (82154) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445521)

The ones out in front of rural homes? That had a red flag that one would put up if to flag the delivery person that there is some outgoing mail?

If you have a mailbox to receive mail, the letter carrier will take away outgoing mail.

I had a package that was damaged in shipping, customer service sent me a pdf in email, to print out a return address label that the USPS would pick up and deliver to them postage due.

Re:Remember the old fashioned mailboxes? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445707)

i still have that, and so does everyone I know.

Re:Good luck... (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445527)

Try telling that to Slashdot. :P

stop the drama (2, Informative)

dammy (131759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445565)



Oh please, spare us the drama. Zip *g* is going to happen when the last collection box is removed and sold for scrap metal. Except it's one less thing to do on a mail route then having to dismount the vehicle to go to the collection box and scan/service it. USPS still picks up letters from curbside deliveries (ie your typical mail box sitting at the street) and any given single or grouped CBU (Cluster Box Unit) has an out bound mail slot you can use, regardless if you have a box there or not. You want the mail to go out, USPS is more then happy to drive their carriers to exhaustion to keep you happy.

Now one thing that has nearly but all dissapeared are the green boxes. About the only place you will find those are in large urban areas.

Dammy
Rural Craft

Re:Good luck... (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445631)

Until a few decades ago, there was a worldwide system of shortwave radio stations sending telegrams and international phone conversations.
With the advent of satellite (and later optical fibre seacable) links, those were one by one decommissioned and now there are only a few museum stations and some empty buildings remaining.

A sad thing when you visit one, but technology advances. Keeping old systems for redundancy is costly and will not really work when the service is called upon.

Less Snail Mail??? (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445405)

Ever since I got online, I've been sending more mail (packages, post cards, etc) than I did before the internet.

People concentration and location really to blame? (1)

with_him (815684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445407)

I wonder if email and the web is really to blame or if concentration of people is more to blame. You don't see these mail boxes going into new housing developments. Everyone has a mail box and daily delivery (and pick up if needed) a their sidewalk.

I don't discount the idea that they may not be taking in as much mail from the iconic blue boxes, but I wonder if total 1st class mail has decreased significally or only where it is picked up from? As older urban communities die off and people that can afford it flock to suburn developments (I know sweeping generalizations), are the blue boxes simply in the wrong place or has consumer culture of this service simply changed?

Re:People concentration and location really to bla (2, Interesting)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445597)

On a related note... most all new housing, at least in where I live in PA, do not have mail slots in the door, but instead each has its own mail box outside either separately in front or increasingly as part of a mailbox cluster down the street.

Homes with mail slots in the door generally get to keep them, and occasionally some new homes will get them, assuming they are part of scattered development (ie a handful of homes or less; larger tracts typically won't get them even if homes nearby do), built within the same delivery area.

It's nice to get mail delivered right through the door - don't even have to go outside; many people would be upset if they had to switch to an outside mailbox, and many postal jobs would be lost ... is the primary reason why there are still so many post offices and postal workers - it could be done with much less, but the U.S. mail system is a big part of Americana and not easily changed.

Ron

Re:People concentration and location really to bla (1)

aqua (3874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445733)

I live in an urban area, and although we have mail slots (five feet from the street, no great trouble for the mail carriers), we have to use the blue boxes on the streetcorners for outgoing mail. The reason is straightforward -- outgoing mail gets stolen. A lot of outgoing mail is used to pay bills, and so may contain money or identifying information useful for identity/credit theft. Small-scale identity theft and meth use are trending together (it requires time and concentration, which I gather methamphetamines provide), and stealing mail is one way to go about it.

The blue boxes probably aren't hugely secure since they depend on a lock with likely little diversity in the keys, but that aspect aside they're big sturdy steel things bolted to the ground, placed in visible and generally well-lit locations. Without them, folks living in this area would have go go to an actual post office, mail things at work, or perhaps retail stores would step in to fill the gap.

No surprise... (5, Insightful)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445419)

When you think about it, the first truly tech saavy generation (as a whole, not just a select few) is starting to come to maturation. Snail Mail will always have a roll, I think, for things that you can't give over e-mail (that handmade card or nice drawing by your grandkid), but it will definately become less and less prevalent.

Re:No surprise... (1)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445905)

I remember doing nice drawings (well, maybe not nice, but at least they were drawings) for my grandparents in Paint when I was six years old.

Still had to print-and-snail-mail 'em, off course.

Re:No surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16446025)

yeh i rember wehn people also new how 2 spell proparly wehn tehy write a snail letter.

No namecalling please (5, Funny)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445439)

Calling those children 'tards won't solve a thing. Oh no, I think I've misread something...

Character?!? (4, Informative)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445463)

Yeah, I've seen the blue mail boxes that they have in the US. They look pretty flimsy and ugly if you ask me. Heck, the ones here in Canada do too.

You want a post box with character? Here [google.com] is a post box with character. Those red UK ones were made to last long after e-mail renders them useless. Heck, we have one in our downtown just sitting there because it wasn't built, it was designed.

- RG>

Re:Character?!? (1)

fizzup (788545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445673)

It's cool that a number of the pictures that Google comes up with have "G R" (Georgius Rex) on them. Some of them have "V R" (Victoria Regina). Built to last alright.

Re:Character?!? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445685)

You want a post box with character? Here is a post box with character. Those red UK ones were made to last long after e-mail renders them useless.

I saw one in Dublin last time I was over in Ireland. Right outside the Post Office, scene of the equivalent in Irish national mythology of the Alamo, is a British post box with the initials V.R. (for Queen Victoria) on it in great big letters.

You'd have thought they'd have destroyed it. Symbol of the Empire and the British state and all that. But no. They didn't.

They painted it green.

Re:Character?!? (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445859)

because it wasn't built, it was designed.

Then why does it exist? Should it still be on the drawing board if it wasn't built?

btw, j/k.

Keep the blue boxes (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445489)

How else are lazy drug smugglers supposed to anonymously mail their packages of contraband?

LK

Canada (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445525)

In Canada our postal service is SO much cheaper than UPS or FedEx that it's ludicrous. Unfortunately medium companies don't use it even though it has all the functionality of UPS or FedEX.

Plus as privately managed companies they have all kinds of fun stuff like this http://http//www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServ er?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article &cid=1160776234367&call_pageid=970599119419 [http] which I suppose is exactly why the Republicans are "cutting costs" in this area.

If anyone can tell me how to create sexy URL's it would be appreciated.

Re:Canada (2, Informative)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445573)

Just use <a href="http://www.example.com>this</a>

Re:Canada (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445865)

The above linked URL, fixed [thestar.com] .

Less mailboxes, more kiosks please (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445555)

Of course 1st class letters are dropping, who sends letters these days besides junkmail and bills? Not many. I can only think of birthday/holiday/invitation cards being the only regular use these days.

But the sending of priority mail and boxes must be up with ebay and all that. I wish the post office opened more small kiosks around the place, in strip malls, supermarkets and such, every time I go into a main branch it is a long wait. It would be profitable for them, especially as they are cheaper than the competition.

Re:Less mailboxes, more kiosks please (2, Informative)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445627)

I know in my local post offices they have automated package centers that let you mail anything from normal first class letters to large packages without having to talk to a human being. It seems very few people use this service even though it can do most everything a human being at the counter can do. Also, the kiosk is open 24 hours as it's in the lobby with the PO Boxes so if you want to mail a package at midnight you can.

The Problem With Mail, IMO (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445585)

At the risk of sounding lazy, I've have to say my biggest issue with the postal service is that it's just so much trouble to mail something. The simple act of sending a letter requires me to

1. Print out or write out whatever it is I want to send
2. Find an envelope of the correct size
3. Try to remember or look up what the current postal rate for first class mail is (and then reminisce for a couple minutes about how it used to be a tenth of that)
4. Drive to the post office to buy stamps of the correct denomination, since it changed since the last time I bought stamps
5. Find the nearest drop point (which are getting scarcer, judging by this article)

And don't even get me started on what an annoyance it is to mail a package. I avoid selling stuff on eBay & Half.com just because it means I have to actually drive to the post office (usually during business hours), wait in line for half an hour, and pay an outrageous fee to mail my stuff.

Instead of removing mail drop points, why not improve them? Make it so that instead of just dropping letters, you can drop letters without postage and small to midsize packages. The letters have to be sorted anyway, so just add in a step of the process to have someone calculate the charge for me and bill me. Come to think of it, why hasn't this been done yet?

Then again, this is the government we're talking about... Guess I'll just stick with email.

More steps! (Warning: FEMA level sarcasm) (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445779)

6. Dodge the guerilla groups who want to kill me because I don't believe in their precise and precious brand (either "New & Improved" or "Classic") of theology/ideology/philosophy/fashion sense.

7. Pray I don't catch ebola, cholera, malaria, marburg, rift valley fever, the creeping crud or any other of 1000 viruses, bacteria or parasites.

8. Hope I had enough to eat to even make the walk to the post office.

9. Wonder how many of my children will still be alive when I get home.

10. Wonder if the letter will make it more than 100 feet from the mail box.

11. Die young and in a ditch with a bullet in my head, or my head chopped off, or whatever.

Yes, life is one peril after another in the great American suburban outback.

So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445879)

you live in Detroit, too?

Re:The Problem With Mail, IMO (2, Insightful)

nuggetman (242645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445831)

Print it out, grab an envelope out of the drawer, stick a stamp on it (if you're not sure if it's gone up since your last mailing, stick 2 for good measure), put it in your outside mailbox and put the flag up.

See? Much simpler when you don't make it a 5 step list process with extraneous steps like reminiscing.

Re:The Problem With Mail, IMO (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445855)

The letters have to be sorted anyway, so just add in a step of the process to have someone calculate the charge for me and bill me. Come to think of it, why hasn't this been done yet?
Stamps.com [stamps.com]

Find the nearest drop point (which are getting scarcer, judging by this article)
Surely there's a blue box in close proximity? I have an old fashioned mailbox because I live in the country but even still there's at least 3 blue boxes in a 1 mile radius.

This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16445593)

Makes more room for hitching posts.

If you have an IP address (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445619)

If you have an IP address, why do you need faxes, or letterboxes?

On a similar note, phoneboxes in the UK are disappearing, as there are more mobile phones in the UK than people now.

"sneaker net" still has its place (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445773)

The good old USPS runs a really cheap "sneaker net", and despite all the jokes I have found it to be quite reliable and timely.

I often I drop a DVD or two into an envelope and mail my off-site backups for the price of a .63 stamp. I usually use a scrounged envelope. Seems like a good deal to me.

You could argue, that for work related stuff, I could set up an over-the net sync, and sometimes I do. For personal items, there are multiple benefits for using Grandma as an off-site backup for photos and videos, and it is a lot easier for her to deal with physical media - plus she can look at them too!

Just be sure to encrypt anything important, should a disc go missing.

So... (-1, Redundant)

falsified (638041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445647)

Can someone mention what a TARDIS is?

Re:So... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445783)

It's already been mentioned. Haven't you read the previous comments? Sheesh... No wonder snail mail is dying out.

netflix (1)

nahfuten (798906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445693)

they removed my local blue mailbox, and I no longer have a place to return my netflix

Use your own mailbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16446021)

You remind me of a time I visited my brother in Raleigh, North Carolina. He and his wife had recently moved into a new house and were showing me around the neighborhood; we were walking for this tour. Returning to their house, we came across some of their neighbors who had recently moved from some big city like New York. After striking up a conversation, they complained about the lack of places to drop off their mail -- they had to drive several miles to get to one of those "blue boxes" to mail items. They asked my brother if he knew of any closer place.

My brother, his wife, and I looked at each other, wondering if this was a joke. When we determined they were serious, my brother showed them how to use their mailbox at the street: put outgoing mail in the mailbox and put the flag up. Because it seemed so absurd to us who had lived with mailboxes for some time, we were quite amused though we held our laughter until we returned to my brother's house.

Cheesy article, overriding reason is security (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445715)

Everything I've read on the subject identifies increased security as being the primary reason for the reduced number of postal mailboxes.

I realize that the "Email is obsoleting the Post Office!" angle makes for good copy, just like it did 20 years ago or so when the Post Office was supposed to go the way of the dinosaur, but it just ain't so.

Here, this is what I found with 30 seconds of Google searching:

http://www.standardspeaker.com/index.php?option=co m_content&task=view&id=3222&Itemid=2 [standardspeaker.com] (security)

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/2006 0928/NATION/609280323/1020 [detnews.com] (vaguely cites rise in net communications and Sep. 11th attack as hastening the death of the mailbox)

And then of course the sloppy Baltimore Sun article cited in the story mentions that it's "the Postal Service, working with the Homeland Security Department" (we call it the Department of Homeland Security, for godsake...) who is removing all the boxes. But the article snows over that to proudly proclaim that "disuse is the primary reason for box removal."

It might be that rising costs really are the reason for the removal of the boxes, but that "security concerns" are cited as pretext. Or maybe it's just that blaming innovation for cutbacks has become more fashionable than scaring people into going along with being inconvenienced. In any case, there's your story, if it's true, not this "the internet is killing mailboxes, and by extension, postal delivery!" presumptuous junk. And speaking of junk, I've got to go wade through the 30 pieces of junk mail that just arrived in my mailbox.

Re:Cheesy article, overriding reason is security (1)

G1975a (913602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445999)

Nah, it's because sending SPAM via the postal service costs cash :).

The Tardis for American children (1)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445785)

Aside from the somewhat mystifying sprig of editorial colour, the American TARDIS would likely get our progeny promptly arrested for "breach of Homeland bullsomething" if they actually tried to climb inside.

Have YOU ever been inside a mailbox? I haven't.

Signed,
Perplexed

Iconic mailboxes (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445873)

Where in the world can you see the red British ones?

The most exotic location in which I've seen one was Jerusalem (with a metal plate over the slot, leaving only a thin slit through which letters, but not bombs, could be posted) ... but there must be others?

Irony (1)

G1975a (913602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445903)

Our company sends and receives hundreds of letters each day. In fact, so many, that we were told by the post office that we have to get them to the post office ourselves (we were filling the mail box occasionally). It seems the poor letter carrier was carrying too much mail away. We have a courier drop off the mail from our P.O. Box each morning as well, at our expense. Each year, the price of Canadian stamps goes up and each year our services received go down.

Wanna know what happened to the box we used to fill? Due to lack of use, it's now been removed. If you beat a customer enough, it will eventually not come back.

In that case... (1)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445925)

"they're like an American TARDIS for children."

In that case, I should go grab one before they're all gone!

Time traveling in a mailbox might be a bit cramp-- oh yeah... Tardis

American TARDIS? (1)

Elwaryn (913191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445943)

I thought the American TARDIS was this [wikipedia.org] .

Mailbox abduction (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16445953)

What the article forgets to mention: they're like an American TARDIS for children.

Does this mean that pedophiles use them to hide their dungeon of abducted kids? No wonder they want to remove them.

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